Somerset Is hording left–handed starters and what’s up with Paulo Orlando?
The Somerset Patriots have signed Pat Dean for the 2020 campaign. In 2019, Dean started the season with two very strong starts for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs before being signed by the Colorado Rockies and pitching for their triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Dean struggled to a 7.54 ERA and 1.897 WHIP in the Isotopes’ rotation and it’s become clear that his success lies in his K/BB rate. This could be a good sign, considering that Dean walked 1 and struck out 11 in his brief 11 innings with the Blue Crabs. Dean’s projections are unclear after his short stint in the ALPB, and Somerset is already holding four left-handed starters. Be sure to check back for preseason projections when ALPB Roundup knows more about Somerset’s plans for 2020.
Paulo Orlando and his terrifically say-able name will be joining the Somerset Patriots for the 2020 season. In 2015, Paulo slashed .249/.269/.444 while winning a World Series with the Royals. In 2016, he improved to a .302/.329/.405 result in a full 484 plate appearance season. Suddenly, in 2017 and 2018, Paulo saw less than 95 at-bats each year while hitting .198/.225/.302 and .167/.194/.200 respectively. So what happened to Paulo Orlando?
To start, his 2016 numbers were helped by a .380 BABIP (the 2nd highest among batters with 450+ at-bats). This does not explain everything, of course. A league-average BABIP would have left Paulo an approximate slash of .242/.251/.336. In the following seasons, Paulo posted a borderline-tragic .234 and .231 BABIP. In those years, a league-average BABIP would have given Paulo results around the .240/.282/.260 and .217/.270/.459 marks over the next two seasons. All considered, the expected results for Orlando didn’t change all that much.
For more on this mystery, keep an eye out for a Stat Blast article upcoming here at ALPB Roundup. For 2020, Paulo projects as a very productive starting outfielder for the Patriots.
Rockers Return a pair of righties
Craig Stem has re-signed with the High Point Rockers after first joining the club for four starts last September. Between 2016 and 2019, Stem has thrown 326 innings on Atlantic League mounds with New Britain, Southern Maryland, and High Point. Every ALPB season, he has improved his ERA (5.14 in 2016 to 2.89 in 2019), WHIP (1.859 in 2016 to 1.169 in 2019), HR/9 rate (.9 in 2016 to .3 in 2019), and H/9 rate (13.0 in 2016 to 7.9 in 2019). Stem also posted his best Atlantic League seasons in K/9 rate and K/W rate last year in his first season as a full-time member of a starting rotation. Looking ahead, Craig projects as a number two or three starter for the Rockers in 2020.
High-end Projections: 113 IP, 3.15 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
Low-end Projections: 84 IP, 4.80 ERA, 1.690 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
Chris Pennell will be returning to the High Point Rockers for 2020. Chris fit himself into the rotation and bullpen for High Point in 2019 after coming over from the American Association’s Gary SouthShore RailCats in late-July. Pennell struggled at the start of 2019 with the Frontier League’s Lake Erie Crushers, posting a 7.89 ERA in 14 and 2/3 innings before tossing 4 innings and allowing 1 run in Gary. After finding his way to High Point, Pennell saw the mound 11 more times, including 7 starts, ending the run with a 3.43 ERA and 1.119 WHIP in 42 innings. Pennell’s 4.78 FIP with Lake Erie indicates he was better than the results he was saddled with and his time in High Point indicate is plenty capable of competing in the Atlantic League. The Rockers can expect a successful ALPB season from Pennell, split between the rotation and the bullpen in 2020. However, ALPB Roundup’s projections reflect Chris primarily coming out of the bullpen.
Projections: 53 IP, 3.90 ERA, 1.205 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 6.2 K/9
High-end Projections: 46 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.180 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, 6.6 K/9
Low-end Projections: 53 IP, 4.95 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.0 K/9
tHE lONG iSLAND dUCKS sIGNED A TWO-WAY PLAYER! LET’S OVERREACT.
Travis Banwart has re-signed with the Long Island Ducks. Travis made his Atlantic League debut with the ducks last June and pitched to a 1.91 ERA and 0.956 WHIP in 6 starts before having his contract purchased by the CPBL’s Fubon Guardians. Speaking of Guardians, how about the XFL getting shut down because of COVID-19? I know we’re a baseball site, but I just became a New York Guardians fan. And now…it’s gone. Perhaps not everything is about me. Perhaps sometimes the things that you love leave you. On that note, Travis projects to have a sub-2.50 ERA in 2020, but is likely to have his contract purchased again.
Projections: 93 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.105 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
High-end Projections: 98 IP, 2.15 ERA, 1.010 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
Low-end Projections: 90 IP, 4.45 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.6 K/9
TWO-WAY PLAYER ALERT!
Clint Freeman will bring his infielding and pitching back to the Long Island Ducks in 2020. Freeman originally joined the Ducks in June of last season and compiled a .270/.340/.371 line offensively and 5.29 ERA and 1.941 WHIP on the mound. Offensively, Freeman is set up for a good 2020 at first base for the Ducks, but he could do to find some more power.
However, Clint’s time on the mound may be nearing an end. His sky-high WHIP and elevated BB/9 are very concerning and may limit him to mop-up duty out of the bullpen. If you want to be positive about Freeman’s two-way potential, keep in mind that he has had one season like his 2019 season and he followed it up with two seasons of good results.
Projections: 280 PA, .240 Avg., 8 HR, .735 OPS, 34 Runs Created, 1.1 WAR (2019 MLB Equiv. J.P. Crawford)
High-end Projections: 315 PA, .245 Avg., 9 HR, .750 OPS, 40 Runs Created, 1.4 WAR
Low-end Projections: 245 PA, .230 Avg., 7 HR, .730 OPS, 29 Runs Created, 0.8 WAR
Pitching Projections: 11 IP, 5.19 ERA, 1.666 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, 8.4 K/9